HOLy Basil

I was going to title this post “HOLy Basil, Batman!”, but somebody beat me to it. Oh, well.

Basil is worshipped in some cultures. They even call it HOLy. Because it’s a blooming miracle plant, that’s why!

It contains vitamins K, C, and A, and trace amounts of iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Whoopty-do. Lots of plants have vitamins & minerals.

But more than that, basil has been studied (like for real scientific studies) for its positive effects on bacteria, respiratory ailments, blood sugar levels, and the digestive tract. It has a low glycemic index, and is an antioxidant (reduces free radicals). There’s a gajillion articles on how awesome it is. Just fire up the Google, and you’ll see.

I’ve been making a medicinal tea with basil since the weather turned cold, and it is delicious.

Liquid. Gold.

Just bring a pot of water (2-4 cups) to a boil, remove it from heat, and add a 3-4 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, cover and let it steep.

That’s it. Simple.

I let mine sit overnight so it’s good and strong. I keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid in the fridge.

Recently, I bought some dried peppermint, and I added it to my decoction in a steel mesh tea ball. It brings a refreshing note to the taste, but really, you’ll be surprised at how delightful the basil is all by itself. Drink it warm with a teaspoon of raw honey, and you are golden. (You will feel golden. You will feel like a Buddhist monk on a Tibetan hillside. Gong optional). It will soothe your spirit and calm your nerves. I love to drink it before bedtime.

It finally dawned on me that I needed to be sharing this gift of the gods with my dogs. Duh. In fact, Truman about knocked my mug from my hands to get at it. So, I added it to the breakfast rotation.

Simply pour it over whatever is in the bowl. I have also begun to mince a couple of basil leaves to sprinkle atop their morning meal, and both dogs are coo-coo for it. (Truman more than Pearl. She’s got more of a sweet tooth, but she still enjoys it).

I keep a basil plant in my kitchen in a glass of water, and it keeps us supplied.

Trust me. Ancient cultures were more selective in their choice of objects of worship than our modern-American, Kardashian-infused culture is. They didn’t waste their reverence on b*llsh*t like we do. (I’m just guessing. I like to think they were too busy to fool with nonsense. I could be wrong). But this could change your world.

pugs & kisses,

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We are Diggin the Bone Broth, baby!

Have y’all discovered bone broth yet? If not, permit me to introduce you.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an article touting the benefits of bone broth, and last week a friend shared with me another. I decided to give it a try, and now I’m hooked.

I’ve been feeding raw bones to Pearl and Truman for months, but I’ve limited them to chicken and game foul because of their size. I’d gotten a look at beef bones back in the early Fall, and they were far too large for a Pug mouth, and I’ve puzzled over how to get some variety into the bone offerings.

Enter: bone broth.

Isn’t it the same thing as stock?

No. Stock will typically have onions and other vegetables in it, and onions are a no-no for dogs. Also, it’s most likely quickly processed at a high heat, which compromises the nutrients that may have once resided in the bones. Plus, the stock or broth you buy at the store is often LOADED with sodium to keep it from turning rancid while it sits on the shelf waiting for you to buy it.

It’ll be better if you make it yourself.

Fresh, Douggie.

That’s how we roll now anyway, right?

But, why bone broth?

  1. It’s easy.
  2. It’s inexpensive.
  3. It’s full of beautiful nutrition.
  4. It’s a great way to warm refrigerated meals.

Bone broth is rich in amino acids, and loaded with natural glucosamine, gelatin, and chondroitin, which are all good for joint health. It contains protein, of course, plus vitamins C, D, K, calcium, thiamin, potassium, iron, and everything else that raw bones have to offer–except the pure pleasure that comes from gnawing and crunching.

How do you make it?

  • Get some bones. Any kind. Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, whatever. Raw or cooked. Raw is better, of course. But I used a rotisserie chicken carcass to get additional use from it before I tossed it. After you’ve cooked them, remember do not feed to your dog. Toss ’em.
  • Put them in a pot. A stock pot or crockpot. (Good use for that crockpot that otherwise takes up space waiting for you to make chili for the office cook-off). Simply cover the bottom with bones.
  • Fill the pot with water.
  • Add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar, or regular vinegar if you don’t have ACV.
  • Cook it low and slow. The longer the better. I cooked mine overnight.
  • You can add delightful things like turmeric or parsley or unrefined sea salt. This is a good way to incorporate herbs, minerals, or other natural supplements depending on your dog’s needs. Make sure anything you add is safe for your dog to consume.

You can freeze it in ice trays, or soup containers, or freezer bags. Gently thaw it in a double boiler or in warm water (better than microwaving), and ladle it over your dog’s dinner.

If your pup is feeling puny, bone broth is a gentle way to get vital nutrients in his system.

If you’ve got a senior pet that is in need of joint support, bone broth is a healthy, natural way to supply the body with the essential nutrients it needs.

Adding a measure of turmeric, depending on how much you’re making, can provide an arthritic dog with a natural anti-inflammatory, instead of a synthetic drug or vitamin supplement.

Underlying all of that, it’s just a real simple way to add richness and variety to your dog’s diet.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,

What’s the big deal about avocados?

It was not long ago that I completely flipped out on somebody for feeding a dog guacamole.

YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEED AVOCADO TO DOGS!!

After I became a raw food convert, I poked around a bit more on the question of avocados because my textbook suggests the fruit is very good for dogs due to the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats so necessary for complete nutrition.

Why the confusion?

Avocados are on the ASPCA’s list of hazardous foods, but there is usually an accompanying explanation that most people fail to read.

Certainly, if your large breed dog snarfs down a whole avocado, peel & pit, an intestinal obstruction is likely. Those pits are rock-solid and impossible to digest.

Also, the skins could be coated in pesticide. If you’ve let your avocado sit out and get too ripe, and you have a garbage hunter in your pack, you might want to take measures to avoid consumption of the whole fruit from the trash.

And depending on the variety of avocado you’re dealing with, it could contain high levels of persin, which is a fungicidal toxin harmless to humans, but which causes illness in some animals. I don’t dare hazard a guess as to how much of that toxin it would take to make a dog sick, or even as to how much is actually present in your average grocery store avocado. The amounts for each of those inquiries will depend on size and variety of avocado, and size and breed of dog, no doubt. This is probably the reason why most people fear feeding them to dogs (and probably the reason why one website I found advises “don’t feed anything to your dog that is not dog food.” That kind of advice presumes readers are stupid, and indicates a lazy writer…but I digress…)

However, my dogs love the occasional avocado, sprinkled with unrefined sea salt, and mashed up with a splash of goat’s milk. I let them enjoy a serving about once a month, and they’ve had no problem with it.

WebMD calls the avocado a “Nutrient All-Star” because it offers almost 20 vitamins and minerals, including potassium, lutein, folate, Vitamins B, C, and E. They’re low in sugar, and high in fiber. They are very high in fat, but it’s good fat (yes, there is such a thing). It’s monounsaturated fat, which reputedly reduces cholesterol.

Fat = Energy.

So, for all the reasons avocados are the “it” food for anything and everything trying to show a healthy option these days, they’re healthy for your dog, and delicious to boot.

Here’s what I do for my 25-lb dogs:

  • 1/2 small-medium avocado, mashed
  • dash of unrefined sea salt
  • 1-2 oz raw, fermented goat’s milk

So, as long as you’re responsible with your trash and feed on occasion, you should be fine.

pugs & kisses,

Warm Winter Veggies

My weekends are as busy as my weekdays.

I spend Saturday and Sunday shopping, planning, and often cooking for my dogs so that I don’t have to think about it during the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, even in a RAW, wHOLe food diet, some things have to be cooked. Dogs don’t do too much chewing with their semi-molars, so we need to help them break down the cellulose in vegetables by gently cooking them.

I’ve developed a recipe that admittedly takes some prep time, but yields a large quantity, freezes well, and is loaded with winter veggie goodness to supplement the protein sources I give my dogs. It’s also an easy way to add some coconut oil and sea salt to their diets.

Here’s a recipe I call Warm Winter Veggie Mash:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 oz organic chicken stock

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. Toss your squash & carrot chunks in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Rinse and pierce your sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place them on another parchment-lined baking sheet, and put them in the oven beside your squash & carrots. Bake for 1 hour or until the skin puckers and the sugar starts oozing out of the fork holes.
  • Let the veggies cool before combining them in a blender or food processor with the salt and chicken stock. The stock is really just to get things moving in the blender. You can use purified water or another flavored stock. Use more or less depending on how thick you want your mixture. Depending on the size of your vegetables and your blender, you may have to puree in batches.
  • Spoon the mixture into 6oz plastic containers, and freeze. One container will defrost over night in the fridge.

Now you have several days of delicious, fresh, wHOLe food nutrition to add to raw chicken wings, thighs, or beef!

WOO-HOO!

These warm root vegetables are so nourishing during the cold winter months and POWER PACKED. Rich in vitamins and minerals that are naturally present — not added back in artificially– including:

Vitamins A, C, E, B6, and K, Niacin, Thiamin, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Iron, Copper, and Pantothenic Acid, but low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

Check your bag of dog food for THAT list of goodies, then ask yourself who really loves your dog. Them or you?

This is a good mixture to have on hand if your dog develops an upset stomach, btw. You can add it to cooked ground turkey meat as a gentle, flavorful fiber to settle a runny bowel.

As with any cooked food, always add a digestive enzyme when you serve it to help your dog absorb the nutrients.

Give it a shot. Even if your dog doesn’t like it, you can put it in a pot, add some heavy cream, and presto! You’ve got yourself a delicious butternut squash/carrot/sweet potato soup!

pugs & kisses,